Monday, September 21, 2009

Art Therapy

I joined an art therapy class, along with seven other cancer survivors. Our instructor is a trained art therapist, and stressed that this is not an art class, but a way of using art as therapy. I enjoy art, and was actually kind of hoping it was an art class.

Our first session's assignment (a week ago) was to use colors and shapes to show 'strength'. We had colored construction paper, scissors, and glue, and an hour to be as creative as we could. I was happy with my result, which was a very calm outdoor scene (a big tree, and the lake with the sun setting). I get my strength from the outdoors - trees, flowers, the lake.

Our second session's assignment (this morning) was harder to get started. We used pastels (both chalk and oil) and started by closing our eyes and 'scribbling' until she said stop. We then had to examine our scribble and see something in it, and then continue working on the picture. She encouraged layering the colors, blending, smoothing (using paper towel), etc. It was fun, even though I think my result looks like something a young child would produce. I saw two butterflies in my scribble, and so I added more butterflies, dragonflies, and some flowers. I used very vibrant colors. The second part is to talk about what we see in our pictures, what we felt as we were working on it. To me, the butterflies are flying away, signifying that I want to fly away, or escape. That suits me well right now as I am absolutely sick of everything cancer. I'm worried about starting radiation (still tentatively next week), which means being at CancerCare 5 days a week for 5 weeks, surrounded by cancer.

That's why I haven't posted in a week, just really avoiding it all, taking a break. But I've been walking and do feel like I'm getting some strength back. I notice my arms and legs feel very heavy, and I do get very tired, but at least it means I'm sleeping better at night.


  1. Art therapy is wonderful. I don't blame you for wanting to get away from the cancer stuff.

    All the best to you ...

  2. Beth,

    I think that it's great that you can take art classes to help relieve some of the stress that often accompanies cancer treatments. I wish I had had that opportunity while I was going through the chemo and radiation. It's almost like getting a much needed "massage" for a weary brain!

    Take care, and have a good time with the art class. You deserve to pamper yourself. :)

  3. Hi Beth ...

    I know you are not happy about this next set of treatments - just take it one day at a time. And, before you know it - the treatments will be over ... and you will have met this challenge with grace and dignity!!

    My dad is at the cancer centre in Thunder Bay ... doing the 5 day a week treatment (I think for 8 weeks) for his cancer. I'm amazed at how well he is doing with this ... especially as my parents do not live in Thunder Bay (they have to travel there on Monday mornings and then travel home on Friday afternoons) - which must be very exhausting and stressful. You are blessed to have your medical procedures available where you are.

    I was not a fan of the radiation treatment myself - however, years later - I'm still here and I have not had to go back for treatments!!!

    Take care and know you will get better ...

    Sheila, B.C.

  4. Hi Beth.
    I am so glad you have found an outlet to keep you busy. I think any form of art is helpful and keeps our mind free of other thoughts. I know what you mean about the outdoors, for me it's the forests and the oceans that is so calming.
    I started making cards for Christmas and eventually hope to get back to doing all the things I used to do.
    The weeks usually go pretty fast with the radiation and you will be done in no time.
    Keep blogging though Beth even if it's just to talk about your art therapy...

  5. Art therapy sounds like a neat thing. I've been feeling a need to create. I hadn't thought of art.